Identifying the types of technology that are used by children with intellectual disabilities and associated complex needs living at home in Ireland

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Within the literature, there is evidence that caring for children with complex needs, however defined, includes the management of equipment and resources (Child Care Health Dev, 2001, 27, 321; Technology Dependent Children and Family Life. Research Works, University of York, UK, Social Policy Research Unit, 2003; Journal of Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 2007, 12, 72; Caring for Children with Complex Needs in the Community, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2008). The objectives of this mixed method study were to identify the range of technology used by children with complex needs and identify issues of concern for parents. Data were collected using a specifically designed questionnaire that was developed with experts. The questionnaire was subsequently administered by telephone survey and personal contact with parents of children with complex needs. Findings indicated that children with intellectual disabilities* and associated complex needs require the use of high levels of technology** to maintain their health and well-being. On average, families identified that 22 pieces of equipment were used by their child. This study is significant in identifying technology used in the home for the care of children with intellectual disabilities and associated complex needs. Associated issues concerning the use and management of this technology have been highlighted. Areas in need of development include provision of supporting mechanisms for parents to meet the daily requirements of their child in the home.

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